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Friday, September 29, 2006

Tomorrow is the Big Day

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Last day of term, two weeks of school holidays, that's always a pleasant thought, and although I still have work to do during the break there is a chance to rest and recharge and a change of pace and scenery.

I'm back up in Perth, staying at Birchy's place. Tomorrow morning we are doing David and Joanne's wedding service out in the Swan Valley. I've just been putting the finishing touches on the service and am glad to say it's now done.
We had a rehearsal tonight which went well, no dramas or concerns. The biggest challenge will be getting up early and being out there and ready to go for a 9.30 wedding, a pretty early start by Australian standards, but necessary in deference to culture and common sense seeing as tomorrow is AFL Grand Final Day. (My countdown clock will have reached 0 by the time most of you read this.)

I have not used my crutches at all today although I am still moving slowly and gingerly. I will be able to stand up to do the service in the morning which is a relief, it would have been awkward balancing on crutches and trying to conduct a wedding.

I stopped for some wok in a box seafood nasi goreng for dinner and also picked up some Baskin Robbins ice cream to share with Darren and Katherine while we watched Before the Game on TV.
The traditional Grand Final marathon is on TV now, a warm up for tomorrow's big game.

Carn the Swans.

I Can Walk!!!!

While I'm not claiming a miracle of Biblical proportions, I am rejoicing that for the first time in two weeks I can walk again!
Two painful and awkward weeks on crutches has been frustrating but today saw a big breakthrough.
I had my second physio appointment this morning and it was torturous as the physio aggressively massaged the fluid out of my swollen and bruised foot. Ultrasound and interferential electric therapy followed before another agonizing massage left me gasping! She finished off with some vigorous stretches and showed me a couple of exercises to work on and I was free to go though I wasn't feeling that good by the time I left.

However, I began "shadow walking" with the assistance of my crutches and was gradully able to bear more weight. I was moving slowly, but moving all the same.
Then this evening when I got home from work I walked from the car to the house solo, no crutches! Hallelujah!
I'm still limping, moving very carefully, and can't make any sharp or sudden movements, but the improvement is substantial and for the first time in over a week I feel optimistic about my recovery! PTL!

I went back to work today and tried to catch up on things that had fallen behind, phone calls, messages, emails and some paperwork.
The good news is our Fish Sculpture is about to make the last leg of it's journey to it's new home. It arrived in Perth late last week and tomorrow morning will be loaded on a truck and brought down to Busselton. I'm really looking forward to seeing it in the "flesh". Next week there will be a meeting of the stakeholders to discuss where it should go and what will be involved in getting it installed. It has been more expensive than I'd hoped or anticipated although in reality it has been cheap for such a large and iconic piece of art. I really hope it receives a positive reception in the town and becomes a local landmark and adds to the tourist attractions in the town.

Tonight was my final session with the kids from Emmanuel on their year 7 camp out on the Holy Mile. I finished the second part of last night's session, the sex component of "sex drugs and rock n roll" before summarising the whole week and highlighting the main points, that they are entering a period of significant change in adolescence, there will be many challenges and choices for them to make and that their actions will be the result of the decisions they make and that those decisions will be strongly influenced by their attitudes values and beliefs. In light of this, I asked them numerous times throughout the week, "How are you going to make those important decisions?" At the end I encouraged them to seek God's help with the challenges and choices in their lives safe in the knowledge that he loves them and wants the best for their lives. I then offered to pray for any of them who would like specific prayer and it was very encouraging when 6 of the boys remained behind and asked me to pray for them.
The whole camp then moved out to the volleyball court and the camp fire to toast some marshmallows and sing silly songs. They've been a great group of kids to work with, bright and responsive and friendly and open to think about the topics I've raised. Phil (Mr G) their teacher has given me plenty of feedback on how my talks have been received and that they have generated quite a bit of discussion amongst the kids in their small groups and dorms. My style has been quite different to the previous few years but he has been happy with it and said it has brought a different perspective and helped the kids think about real issues that they are going to confront as they get older. My mate Stu dobbed me in for the job and I'm glad because I've really enjoyed talking to the kids and being a part of their camp experience. Working with primary school kids is a bit of a departure from the norm for me and I've enjoyed their openeness and innocence and the fact they haven't needed to try and be too cool.

I've only got one more day until the end of term. Tomorrow afternoon I leave for Perth because Saturday morning is David and Joanne's wedding at Swan View. We've got a rehearsal tomorrow evening so it will be a busy day. Thankfully the wedding will be finished in plenty of time for Birchy and I to get home and watch the Grand Final between West Coast and Sydney, Carn the Swans!

One more bit of news is that I have recently gotten my taxi driver's license and as of next work I'm taking up a part time job as a taxi driver, doing one evening shift each weekend. I don't know how I'll go but I went for an orientation with Jeff, the boss, yesterday arvo and he made it all sound fairly easy and straight forward. I do my first shift next week. I daresay there'll be a few bloggable stories arise out of this new venture. We've been struggling a little financially of late, running two cars and the price of petrol have been part of the problem, so some extra income will be very handy, and hopefully it will also be fun and a bit of an adventure, I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

You Tube pros and cons

Holt Press
I don't know what the deal is with YouTube. It's great that it allows you to put videos on your blog, but it's pretty poor that they only play back 2 seconds at a time!!!! At least that's what it does on my computer!! I wonder if it's any better/quicker for you? See what you think with the post below.

Sport Boy's team winning the Leaderball

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sport Boy's Triumphs

Sport Boy's nervous excitement was well placed it seems because he did very well at the inter-school sports day at Bunbury. By the time Carolyn and I arrived he had competed in his first event, the Turbo Javelin (throwing a turbo ball javelin style, definitely a safer option for kids, as it would have been for the sports official on the news tonight who was speared through the foot by a javelin she failed to get out of the way of!!)
Sport Boy came first and proudly showed us his blue ribbon.

Later he was part of the leaderball team (hopefully You Tubed on the blog soon) and they won that event too, with Sport Boy moving the team from 2nd to 1st place during his run!! (Proud Dad blogging here!!)

Later on they came third in the spry-ball! Funny name!

He had a great day and declined the offer to come home early with us in the car so he could come back on the bus with his friends.

In my study this evening he brought his ribbons in and displaying them proudly told me, "When I'm 80 I'll be able to show my grandchildren these ribbons and tell them how I won them at my first ever inter-school sports day in Bunbury" !! Posted by Picasa

Sport Boy goes to the inter-school carnival tomorrow

Sport Boy had trouble getting to sleep tonight because of his nervous excitement about going to Bunbury tomorrow to compete in the inter-school sports carnival for the first time.
No nickname was ever more apt than Sport Boy!

I dubbed some old home video yesterday of him when he was just a toddler, watching a football game on TV with Sophie and he was so excited and into it, yelling out, running around kicking an imaginary ball, imploring one team to kick a goal, it is an amazingly prophetic record!
If I can find a way to You Tube some of it I'll put it on Holt Press so you can see for yourself.

A Major Problem requires Radical Action

I spent all day flat on my back in bed with my leg raised in a concerted attempt to reduce the swelling in my foot.
I took the day off work.
I slept.
I read.
I listened to music on my MP3 player.
I listened to the ABC news hour on the radio.
I sent texts to my wife.
I ate cereal and biscuits in bed.
I put the cryo-cuff ice pack on.
I struggled to find the right level of tightness for my compression bandage and tubi-grip.
A couple of times I had to take them off because of the throbbing pain they lead to.
I painfully massaged my foot and ankle trying to get the fluid moving and free up the joints.
I did the stretching exercises recommended by the physio, and actually saw some improvement of range and movement.

And, my swelling diminished!
Not completely, but certainly significantly.
It is not gone but it is at least more like a sprained ankle now and less like elephantiasis.

I had to get up to go to a meeting tonight but was able to spend most of it with my leg up on a chair as we planned for a forum in October.

I came home and watched TV with Carolyn and Sophie, with my foot perched on the extended footrest of my now sadly broken recliner chair. Something went crack underneath it yesterday and I now sit at an angle and the reclining feature does not work as well as it used to. As Carolyn said, we got our $30 worth out of it.

I've just been reading the text of a speech entitled "Come September" by a woman called Arundhati Roy, in America, a year after September 11. It is powerful and compelling and well worth reading.
If you've got the time and interest you can find a transcript of it here.

Now I'm going back to bed for some more elevation.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Emmanuel Campers

The kids at the camp I've been speaking at the last few days. Tonight's topic was September 11 and responses to terrorism, a pretty heavy subject I know and I'm not sure how well it went but the kids are great and the camp seems to be going very well.

Here they are garbed in their Survivor bandanas.
Mr G their teacher is in the right hand corner of the pic, a good bloke and the kids seem to respond well to him. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday mornings used to be sacred

Holt Press
The phone woke me this morning, that's never a good experience, either there's bad news or I'm so late getting up other people have already reached a point in the day where they think it's safe to telephone people. It was a Sunday morning too, no longer sacred.
The bad news was that my 11.00am speaking engagement was being brought forward to 10.30.
After the long day and night on Saturday that was not welcome news but I bravely consented, set the alarm and rolled over to try and steal another 35 minutes sleep.

Next comes the agonizing transition from horizontal to vertical. With my foot elevated all night to try and reduce the swelling, going to vertical sends the blood rushing south again and my whole foot and half my leg starts to throb. It's been 10 days since the injury and not only can't I walk, the swelling is not diminishing at all.

Hopping around the bathroom in the nude as I manouevre myself onto the stool in the shower is a challenge fraught with danger. So far no accidents but I live in fear.

A hurried breakfast of Promite toast in the car and I'm off to Camp Geographe for my appointment with the year 7's from Emmanuel. They are in good spirits, and the hall is decorated with banners from their own version of Survivor. TNT are just ahead of the Flaming Pyromaniacs on the scoreboard, with the Eliminatorz a distant last.
After some worship music and communion I gave my talk, The Gospel of Steve, looking at the life and example of Steve Irwin, highlighting his many admirable qualities, including enthusiasm, positivity, conservation, love for life, love for friends and love for family.
It seemed to go well and Mr G, the teacher, said the response to my first talk, on popularity, had generated a lot of follow-up discussion in their small groups.

After lunch I headed for the gallery at Art Geo for my afternoon shift on the roster. Sadly I didn't sell a painting today and with my foot slowing me down didn't get much done on my newest picture either.
The worst moment of the day was easily when my wooden box of paints fell out of my backpack as I was adjusting my crutches and landed right on the sorest part of my ankle!!!!!!!
Any wonder it's not getting any better!!!

Back home, foot up, watching TV, chilling, the disappointing news continued. Following hard on the heels of Tottenham's 3-0 loss to Liverpool came the result of the VFL Grand Final in Victoria with Geelong going down to Sandringham by 3 goals. It had been our last chance to salvage something from an abysmal season and it was gone!
All I need now to completely ruin my year is for West Coast to win the AFL Grand Final next Saturday!! Carn the Swans!!!!

The rest of the family are watching Finding Nemo. Carolyn's had a long afternoon doing Jordan's junk mail round. Talking of Jordan, here are a couple of progress pictures from his school trip to Canberra. The daily reports filed by Miss Cam are well worth reading, follow this link if you're interested.

I've got a physio appointment tomorrow morning, let's hope it has some effect in helping my bulbous foot.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Tired and relieved to be home in one piece

Holt Press
We've just arrived home after a VERY long day.
It started with a 7.30 departure for Mandurah, via Australind to pick up 20 boxes of fund-raising chocolates, and the Augusta Beach Mission training day. The training day went well although our numbers were down with many people not able to make it today. There was the usual mix of program overviews, discussions, planning times, team building games, studies and prayers, with lunch and dinner and the now customary preliminary final between West Coast and Adelaide to keep track of. The same two teams played on the same day last year, with the same result, a win to the Eagles, which made evryone except Sport Boy, Carolyn and I happy. About 20 of us squeezed into a small room with an even smaller TV to watch the last quarter. The Crows very nearly got up and snatched it in the last two minutes but it wasn't to be.

After pizza for tea and the pack-up and clean-up everyone set off on their different paths for home. We took the most different path of all, goingg via Bridgetown to pick up Mum's car, an automatic, which I can drive without needing to use my dodgy left foot.
That added about 150km and two hours to the trip home which was painfully slow because of the huge number of kangaroos on the road. We didn't hit any thankfully but it wasn't for want of opportunity, they were everywhere. Carolyn was following close behind me and at times I slowed down to 20km/hr in order to avaoid a marsupial hood ornament. We left Mandurah at 6.45 and have only just gotten home at 11.20!!!

Thankfully there is no church service in the morning so we can both sleep in for a while although I'm speaking at the school camp at 11.00 and Carolyn has to fold and deliver Jordan's junk mail round!

It's been a VERY long day.

Cornerstone Canberra trip travel blog

For regular progress reports and some very funny accounts of Jordan's school trip to Canberra go here.

A bad day and an even worse night

I spent a very miserable day today, following a very uncomfortable night.
I woke up at about 3am with my foot hurting dreadfully, the worst it's been since I injured it a week ago.In the end I had to take two lots of painkillers just to be able to get some sleep, something I never have to do normally.
I don't know for sure why it was so bad but I may have brought some of it on myself in an attempt to speed up the healing process.
While I was watching TV last night I tried some more vertical elevation and some massage to try and dissipate the swelling but I must have stirred it up too much because it was dreadfully painful when it woke me up at 3am.

I stayed home from work and slept till lunchtime before going to the doctors. On the way I became very nauseous and while seeing the doctor almost threw up. He prescibed an anti-nausea injection and oxygen and I laid down in a treatment room for over an hour feeling weak and sick.
He was concerned about the swelling in my calf and ordered an urgent ultrasound to check for deep vein thrombosis. Thankfully the ultrasound came back negative for DVT. Back to the Dr. to get a referral for physio, prescriptions for anti-inflammatories and pain killers, and a letter to cover my time off work! By the time all that was done I was feeling a little better but $150 lighter in the pocket (which added to my nasty ambulance bill for $330 has made this whole thing not only painful and inconvenient but also expensive).

I started to feel a little better once I got home which is just as well because I then had to go out to the SU campsite to give my first talk at the Emmanuel School camp this evening. I thought I had already printed my notes so had to hurriedly do that before we left (Carolyn is still chauffering me around at the moment). Unfortunately I forgot that the printer prints from the last page to the first, thus the page I grabbed turned out to be the talk for session 3 not session 1!!!
Therefore instead of introducing The Gospel of Steve I had to improvise and give my talk on popularity instead! The kids didn't seem to mind and I thought it went pretty well, especially considering the sort of day I'd had.

I had put the footy on timeshift-record so when I got home was able to pick up where I had left off.
Sadly the Dockers lost but it was a good effort against an exceptionally good team.
Needless to say I will now be barracking for the Swans regardless of who wins tomorrow's other prelim final between the Crows and the Eagles.

Tomorrow we've got an all day team meeting and training day for the Augusta Beach Mission team at Mandurah, which means an early start and 150km drive to get there. I hope I sleep better tonight!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dockers beaten but not disgraced

In the end the experience and skill of Sydney overwhelmed the inexperience of Fremantle, but it was a good effort and an impressive achievement for a club and coach roundly criticised and condemned half way through the season.

3/4 Time The Dockers are still in it but only just

Holt Press
The Dockers had a great 3rd quarter yet Sydney still outscored them!!! Just shows how good a team the Swans are.

Come on Freo!!

Preliminary Final

Holt Press
The Dockers are about to start the biggest game in their history, the AFL preliminary final against the Sydney Swans at Aussie Stadium in Sydney.

Carn the Dockers!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Grand Final Night

This is Woobla, the team who beat us in the semi-final last week following my ankle injury. We were 2 sets to 0 up at the time but Woobla came back to win 3-2!

Fired up by this good fortune Woobla went on to beat the more fancied Breakaways in the prelim final on Tuesday night.

Thus they are set to play the Grand Final tonight against 6 Pack, the hot favourites, having lost only one game all season.

But I'll be cheering for Woobla, even though they have been a thorn in my side for a long time, this picture was taken after they beat us in last year's A Reserve Grand Final.
One of these blokes is the one who stuck his foot under mine as I came down from a spike thus precipitating my nasty injury!
A week later and my foot is still massively swollen, painful, tender and showing little sign of improvement.

To add even more pain to the whole experience I found out today that my SGIO health insurance does NOT cover my ambulance ride!! Too late I discover that they only cover life-threatening emergency ambulance cover!!!! My ankle, painful and debilitating as it was, was not deemed to be life threatening!!
While at one level that is a good thing, the really bad news is that I am now faced with a bill for $330 for my ambulance ride to the hospital, a journey that could have been easily done by car, for nothing had I known!!

Not happy John!!!!!!!!!!!

Be warned, check your health insurance for the fine print. One of the reasons I took out private cover in the first place was because it included ambulance cover. Prior to that I'd been a St John's member which provides full cover!!!

AAAGGGGHHHH!!!!! Posted by Picasa

Back to Work

Today was my first day back at work since I hurt my ankle so of course I had to answer the same question 27 times what happened to you/what did you do?It’s fascinating to see different people’s reactions, especially those who upon hearing that it was a sports injury seem to dismiss it as self-inflicted nonsense! Most people were sympathetic and suitably impressed upon seeing how swollen and enlarged my foot is and how bad the bruising is.
For my part, Im not enjoying the pain or the inconvenience at all, the new crutches are much better but its still awkward and slow to get around.

Thankfully I can sit at my desk most of the time but collecting papers from the printer or taking forms to the photo-copier present a new challenge for a menial task.
Sorry if I seem to be complaining, I appreciate that many people are way worse off than me but I guess everythings relative and when youre used to a certain level of freedom and mobility, losing it is hard to take.

I managed to get most of the tasks on my list of things to do done, albeit slowly. I even managed to complete the preparation for three out of the five talks Ive got to give at a camp next week, done. The camp is for year 6-7s from Emmanuel School in Perth. I dont normally work with that age group so trying to get my content at the right level is important.
The topics Ive chosen are Steve Irwin: The gospel of Steve, September 11, Popularity, Sex Drugs and Rock n Roll. I havent decided what the fifth one will be yet. The teacher who asked me to be the camp speaker says the kids are very bright and to use questions in order to get them thinking and discussing issues so I expect theyll be able to handle the topics Ive chosen.

Jordan and Sport Boy signed up for the coming basketball season this afternoon but the large gap between age groups mean they are playing in the under 18 and under 12 s respectively, that will be interesting!

Jordy leaves on his school trip to Sydney and Canberra tomorrow night and will be away for 12 days. Hes not feeling all that well and had a bad headache this morning. I hope hell be well enough to enjoy the trip.
Hes sleeping on the sofa tonight in the hope of getting a better nights sleep, I hope it works for his sake!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A little joke at my dear mother's expense!

Holt Press
Mum rang tonight from Germany, they're having a wonderful time.
She hadn't had any news of the footy scores and asked me how the Eagles game went.
Siezing my opportunity I told her the Bulldogs had played brilliantly and won by 10 goals! Wonder how long it will take her to find out the truth?!! I expect I'll hear about it moments after she does!!! hahahahahaha!
I did tell her before she left to look out for blogging opportunities and internet cafes! It's not as if she couldn't have found out for herself now is it?!!

Armed and Dangerous!

Despite my warnings one of the boys did manage to drop a bowling ball which bounced onto Sport Boy's toes!! Posted by Picasa

Who'd have thought 6 little boys would be so competitive?!

They had a great time bowling, and they competed over everything, which ball they would use, what order they would bowl in, where they would stand while waiting for their next turn,how many spares or strikes they got and of course who was winning!
They were glued to the overhead monitor throughout and 3 of them complained to me that their score hadn't been added on properly. I had to placate them by explaining the bonus scoring system for spares and strikes!! Posted by Picasa

Sport Boy's first time at 10 pin bowling

Celebrating a strike! Posted by Picasa

Not broken, just badly damaged!

I had my foot x-rayed today which revealed no brake, good, but 5 days after the injury it is still massively swollen and badly bruised and very painful, none of which are good signs, and may in fact indicate ligament damage. This I am informed by more than one person can be worse than a fracture, requiring longer rehabilitation and less certain recovery!!
The plaster was taken off for the x-rays. I had the opotion of putting it back on but there seems no advantage to that except for supoort and protection.
It is more painful and sensitive, and vulnerable, as I found out while I was reffing volleyball tonight and twice got hit in the foot with a ball! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Keys For Life, Friends For Life

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Having spent all day at a pre-driver safety education course called Keys for Life learning how to teach high school students how to be safer when they start to drive, I figured it would be inappropriate if I were to crash the car on the way home due to fatigue so I have stayed in Perth for the night and will head home in the morning.

This has enabled me to visit two lots of friends. I'm staying at Sally and Warren's place in Willetton, in the nautical section, which of course looks down on the bird section. (That's a reference to a private joke between Sal and I, I can't divulge any more but trust me when I tell you it is hilarious!)
Warren had just received a package in the mail, an old fishing reel he bought on ebay, he has a big collection of fishing reels, and a growing collection of knives, all ebay originated.

I proceeded to brag about the big fish I recently bought on ebay. Having said that, I am anxious to find out whether I was successful in coordinating the forklift and driver to be at the warehouse at the same time as the truck and the person with the keys to let them in to enable our African Bonytongue to be loaded ready for transport across the Nullabor. I made the call this morning but I haven't had a confirmation that everything proceeded today as hoped.

Here's a challenge for you.
Where is Gambia? Can you find it on a map?
Let me tell you that it's not easy to locate! Let me know how you go, and don't just google Gambia, that's cheating!

Sally has had a brainwave regarding my paintings, she believes they will "go off" as pillow covers and soft furnishings! Without wanting to be sceptical, I had not thought of this and am not convinced it would work, but with Sal's enthusiastic marketing and patronage, who knows what might happen?

After dinner and some blog and painting discussion, I went over to see Phil and Julie in Vic Park. Julie was in fact leaving for New Zealand tonight to go to a wedding so it was mainly Phil and I who sat up till after midnight talking and catching up on one another's news. He is a writer and has just finished the manuscript of his second book, his first novel, and is meeting a publisher next week where he hopes to be offered a contract. We talked about the similarities between his creative outlet through writing and my recently discovered passion for painting and mutual struggles to see ourselves in a new light as artist/writer rather than our conventional roles as defined by our employment.

We talked about fatherhood, our Dads, our kids and the differences and similarities between the three generations. Phil's Dad has had some significant health struggles the last couple of years which probably prompts a bit more reflection and introspection on Phil's part. (Just as well my Dad is as fit as a mallee bull, albeit a very well fed one!)

Next time I visit, Phil is going to give me a crash course in making picture frames. He is far and away the most practical and clever-with-his-hands man I've ever met so it will be good to learn from him.
Having made that bold statement I will now immediately qualify it by saying that Birchy, with who I satyed last night is also brilliant with his hands and can make all sorts of cool stuff out of timber, last night he showed me the new TV cabinet he had just made, a very impressive piece of furniture.

Maybe this is the germ of a new reality TV show, A Bloke's Backyard Challenge, pitting two home handymen against one another in a battle of ingenuity and creativity using only scrap and salvaged materials!!
I can see it now! What's Reg Grundy's phone number?....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

BBQ, Bowling and Birchy

Holt Press
Blogging in from Birchy's place at Banksia Grove.

After church this morning Noel made an announcement on my behalf requesting the loan of an automatic car that I could drive to Perth for a training course I'm doing tomorrow. Three different people came and offered me the use of their cars. I swapped mine with Steve's Nissan for the next couple of days.

We headed up to Bunbury for the soccer team wind-up, a BBQ at Big Swamp Park. Unfortunately our arrival coincided with the rain and a cold front moving through! There was shelter in a rotunda while the blokes and Carolyn cokked the sausages. My injury and dependence on crutches meant I was relegated to sitting and watching rather than taking my rightful place as a man, at the BBQ!

After we'd all eaten we headed for the 10 pin bowling alley. All the boys were on one lane, the girls on the second and the adults on the third. Sport Boy had never bowled before and it took him a while to get the hang of it. He had confidently told me this moning that he was going to get a strike, but after a couple of frames he admitted that it was harder than he'd expected! However, sure enough he did bowl a strike, the only one of the boys to do so! He ended up bowling 88 (they did have the gutter guards up!) The boys were just as competitve with the bowling as they are when they play soccer, which is one of the reasons they are such a good team I guess, they are very determined.

Graeme had put together a DVD of the team, combining his video footage and some of my photos, set to music. With a little persuasion the lady at the bowling alley agreed to put it on their in-house system. It was fantastic watching the kids playy soccer on the big screen while they were bowling. We had another look at it after the game on Graeme's laptop, he did a great job with it and is giving a copy to each family.
I didn't bowl but I'm pleased to report that Carolyn bowled 123 and beat Clive!!

From there Carolyn and Sport Boy went home to Busselton and I continued on up to Perth for the night so I can get to the course by 8.30 in the morning.
I started to get pretty tired about half way to Mandurah so I pulled into a roadhouse, laid the seat back and had a nap for about an hour. It really helped revive me though I did wake up with a bit of a headache.

I stopped at Mandurah to buy some seafood noodles. getting in and out of the car with the crutches is quite awkward and I'm finding it quite painful on my hands and under my arms so when I get to Joondalup I asked a guy coming out of the service station if he'd mind buying a vanilla diet coke for me and he happily obliged.

I'm staying at Darren and Katherine's tonight. They've got an early start and a big day tomorrow for Jerome's birthday, the whole family are taking the Avonlink train to Northam for a picnic lunch. Jerome's love of trains makes birthdays easy to buy for!

I'm going to bed for an early night, as soon as I check how Spurs are going against Fulham, it's been a very disappointing start to the season so we really need a win to get back on track. They did beat Slavia Prague in their first European game on Thursday night which is an encouraging sign.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

You Tube Experiment

Sport Boy on the Ranger at last year's Busselton Show

Tom, the customer relations officer at Subiaco Oval who took such good care of me at the football tonight

For those who haven't heard, I injured myself badly at volleyball last night and have a suspected broken ankle so getting to the footy and in and out of the ground was going to be harder than normal.

Tom was extremely helpful and friendly, transported me to my seat, checked in on me at half time and came back at the end of the game to wheel me out and around the ground to rendevouz with my friends for the trip home. He even ended up pushing me about 500 metres up the street and through the park to the car. The wheelchair had developed a flat tyre by then and at the end he had worked up a sweat, all without complaint and with good humoured dedication to the task. It was very nice to be on the receiving end of such caring service. If you spot Tom at Subi any time, say g'day and tell him I said thanks very much. Posted by Picasa

Comfortably settled in one of the disabled zones, feet up, earphones plugged in, binoculars at the ready, what more could I want?

There are some compensations for having a broken ankle and at the footy in Perth tonight I was given excellent treatment and assistance so that I could enjoy the game in comfort.
I never would have made it up the three flights of stairs or into the narrow aisles and confined seats of the grandstand so I rang Subiaco today and requested their help with my predicament.
They were very helpful and obliging and both Collo and I had a very good view of the game from behind the goal at the Subi end. They brought a wheelchair to take me around the ground, set aside two chairs for us and even brought me a milk crate so I could keep my leg elevated during the game. The icing on the cake was Freo's triumph.
I got a lift up from Busselton and back with Tyso from the footy club and his wife Jill who also took good care of me.
 Posted by Picasa

Collo Celebrates a Famous Victory

I went to the game with my mate and fellow chaplain Grant Collins who got the tickets via a friend who is a member. As you can see he was very happy with proceedings!
Freo Heave Ho! Posted by Picasa

The Purple Haze

The banners and flags enveloped Subi Oval as the siren signalled Fremantle's victory over Melbourne, their first ever win in a final. It was great to be there.
I went to every derby for 6-7 years just waiting for Freo to win their first one, and have seen them win several since. Carolyn and I were there the night they played (and lost to) Essendon in their first ever final. But tonight was the best night in Dockers history so far, a breakthrough win which puts them into the preliminary final v Sydney next Friday night.
After years of heartbreak and under-achievement, it is fantastic to see Fremantle finally starting to produce the goods.

I don't think they'll beat the Swans in Sydney next week, but the reality is they are only one win away from playing in the Grand Final and anything's possible.

Go Dockers!!
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Friday, September 15, 2006

Things were going so well .....

Volleyball semi-final, Miffy the Cow v Woobla.

Things were going very well in tonight's game, until....!!

Let me start from the beginning.

Admittedly we started shakily, falling behind 8-1 in the first set, but a time-out to regroup and re focus helped us begin to get back into the game and we clawed our way back to level by about 15-all. It was neck and neck for a couple of minutes then it was my turn to serve and my serve came back! It deserted me a couple of weeks ago, forcing me to resort to serving underarm just to be sure of getting them in, but tonight it came back and I reeled off about 6 in a row to get us to withinn two points of taking the set. We held on and won it to take a 1-0 lead in a best of 5 set game.

The 2nd set went even better, we got out in front and stayed there the whole way through to win it quite comfortably.

We were 2-0 up in the knock-out semi, one more set and we were through to the preliminary final.

The third set didn't go quite so well. Woobla started to get some spikes in and we fell behind. We made a couple of rallies and were trying to fight out the third set although it was pretty clear Woobla were going to take it and make the score 2-1.

Then it happened!

Disaster struck!!

They got a set-up on the net, I was on the front line; having made a couple of point winning blocks already I was in good form, I jumped up for the block but as I came down I landed on my opponents foot and my ankle gave way beneath me, completely rolling it sideways, I hit the floor in an agonizing heap, the pain shooting up my leg and leaving me rolling around on the floor in excruciating pain. I yelled loud enough to attract the attention of everyone in the gym, from all 4 games in progress!! My whole ankle swelled up like a balloon. My night was finished, and I knew as I lay there that our chances had also taken a nose-dive. Not that we're a one-man team by any means, but I was playing well and it was going to be very difficult to hold on with 5 players and a ring-in.

My left leg, in a cast, ironically pictured with a volleyball trophy and mug from last season!

John Duthie from school administered first aid. After a few minutes to allow me to bring the pain under control and compose myself from the quivering wreck thrashing around on the gym floor, they carried me off, put ice on my ankle, strapped it and elevated it on a chair with me laying on the floor.

They restarted the game after about a 20 minute delay but although the remaining members of Miffy the Cow fought hard, the tide had turned and Woobla siezed control of the game, taking the third and 4th sets in quick succession. I was trying to watch the game and deal with the pain at the same time. Sadly, our season came to a very disappointing end 5 minutes later with Woobla coming back from 2-0 down to win it 3-2, taking the final set 15-12!

We had started so well and were on track to win when disaster struck.

By this time an ambulance had been called and finally they arrived to collect me and take me to the hospital.
I spent the next 3 hours being assessed and treated. Although they didn't take x-rays the doctor suspected that my ankle was broken and put it in a plaster cast to protect it and contain the swelling. I need to go back tomorrow for x-rays. If it is broken they'll leave it in the cast and may need to operate to put a pin in it to hold it together. If that's necessary it will happen in about 10 days time.

So, my leg is encased in plaster to just below the knee. Actually it's a back-strap half cast which allows for some swelling. We lost the game but even if we'd won I would not have been able to play anymore this season.

Things were going so well ......
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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Big Night at Busselton

Holt Press
Tonight is semi-final night in the local volleyball competition and my team, Miffy the Cow play Woobla in the 1st semi 45 minutes from now.
The winners progress to the prelininary final, the losers hang up their knee pads until next season so it's do or die tonight.
We've beaten Woobla a couple of times this season but they beat us last time we played. It should be close. We can win but it depends how the team gels, we have not been the most cohesive of outfits with some real variation between our best and worst performances. A few of our players are inconsistent, only Ross plays well every week. I've been hot and cold, my last two games have been ordinary so I need to step up tonight.
I'm very competitive and tend to get anxious and up tight in big games so it would be helpful if we took the lead and won the first set to ease my nerves. Stu is playing tonight which is a good thing, he's good value and I enjoy having him on court.

Time to get ready and head up to the rec centre for a decent warm-up before the game.

Go Miffy!!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mark and Jill

I went to high school at Carine with Jill in 1978-79 (stop counting, you don't have that many fingers and toes). We now both find ourselves working at Busselton. A couple of months ago she asked me whether I'd be able to do their wedding service in January next year. I was of course honoured and delighted to oblige. Tonight I went round for dinner and to talk with them about the wedding. We had some great Chinese takeaway (which was doubly good cause I cooked dinner at home tonight due to Carolyn not feeling well and it was very hard to resist eating any of my favourite meal, chile con carne). It was really good talking to them about their attitudes towards marriage, why they want to get married and what it means to them, as well as what it means to me.
They want a relaxed and informal service which suits me fine. Hopefully there'll be 1-2 old friends there too so it will double as a school reunion.
About the only stumbling block I can see is that Mark is a lifelong Carlton fan!
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Are you Number 10,000?

Holt Press
As I write this I've had 9997 hits on Holt Press (about 500 of them have been mine!!)

If you happen to clock it over to 10,000, leave me a comment to celebrate the milestone!

Here's to many more posts and hits along the way!


Sophie moved back home today. She's been living with some friends house-sitting for a lady from church for a few months but tonight decided she'd had enough and wanted to come home to Mum and Dad's place. It's nice to have her back. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 11 - 5 years on

Holt Press
I was teaching a drug education course to parents the night of 9/11. Carolyn rang me to tell me what had happened and I stood there dumbfounded trying to comprehend it.
I watched the live tv feed from the US for hours that night as the drama unfolded and was repeated over and over.
The scenes were horrifying, compelling, amazing and shocking. It was hard to believe it had happened. It's still hard to believe it. Seeing the planes hit still makes me shudder. Seeing the towers crumbling is still mind blowing.

The anniversary has passed fairly quietly here, not a lot of discussion or comment from people on the street. The footy finals and Peter Brock's death raised more interest.

There have been movies and documentaries on TV but they haven't exactly been riveting television.

The real question is what have we learned from and since September 11?

I don't have answers, or even much in the way of suggestions, but I do have a couple of opinions.

The first is that the war on terror is an unwinnable war. In fact it is completely counter-productive. Every "terrorist" the US kills spawns another hundred ready to take their place. There are suicide bombings and attacks throughout the middle east, Europe and elsewhere happening every day. The world is not safer, it is clearly more dangerous. A bus ride or a family holiday have become fraught with risk.

The war on terror can't be won so long as it's fought with conventional weapons and tactics.
The war can only be won when we recognise the cause and reasons for the terrorism in the first place and address those.
There is incredible injustice in the world.
There is a complete imbalance of wealth, resources and power concentrated in the west and hardship, disease, lack of basic human needs like clean water, medicine and food in places all over the world.
The west exploits the rest of the world and it's resources for our own comfort and pleasure, growing richer and fatter while the world grows poorer.
Unless we address and respond to these basic needs, there will always be resentment, anger and violence towards the west.

Without the will to change the world, the world will continue to suffer and people will die at the hands of terrorists.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not sticking up for terrorists or justifying their actions, but it is hardly surprising that there is huge resentment when we truly acknowledge the imbalances in the world.

In response to 9/11 the US rained bombs on Afghanistan and other places, invaded Iraq and continues to take a hard line military approach. Britain and Australia have followed along behind obediently.

I didn't pose this suggestion but I'd love to see what would happen if it were taken up.

Someone asked in the early stages when the military response was just cranking up, "What if we just dropped money on Afghanistan instead of bombs?"

It's an interesting question!

The irony is, it would have been cheaper!!

There have been heinous crimes committed and people should be brought to justice, but it is naivety to think that all the wrongs have been perpetrated by the "terrorists" and "muslims" and "arabs" and "foreigners".
The west has blood on it's hands too.
There is no innocent party, there has been wrong committed on both sides.

The answer is not more bombs bullets and missiles.

The answer surely lies in a different direction, where support, understanding, cooperation, mutual assistance, sharing of resources, peace making are the key strategies, not protecting oil, resources and vested interests.

Sure as eggs, money is the number one driving force behind most decisions made and actions taken.
It's certainly not the sanctity of human life, the pursuit of goodness and a fair and just world for ALL.
The reality is we place way more value on a western life or death than we do on an eastern one.
Don't believe me? Check the TV hours/newspaper footage devoted to one western life compared to an African or a Russian or a Palestinian or a ...

I don't have the answers, but I know what we're currently doing is not working and will never work. The anger resentment and hatred towards the US and the west, including Australia, is growing not diminishing.

Some where in this crazy mess we have to call a time-out and honestly ask whether we're headed in the right direction, and if we're not, what are we going to do about it.

I feel sad for the 3000 Americans who died on Sep 11. I feel sad for their families.
But, they are not the most important or only people to have died in this "war" and the way it's being fought, they certainly won't be the last.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The other sleepover painting

I've started painting over some of my earlier pictures so that I don't have to buy new canvases. This is a vast improvement on what is underneath it. Posted by Picasa

One of the paintings I did at the Famine sleepover last weekend

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Just a few decorations to make the Eagles fans at work feel welcome in the morning!!

Sue had blue and yellow balloons around her office before the derby which I took pleasure in bursting! I couldn't get any purple streamers after the the Dockers beat them so I figured I'd make the most of the opportunity in light of the Swans win last night! Posted by Picasa

The Finals have begun

Holt Press
The Dockers lost! Rats.
Still the news wasn't all bad, the Eagles lost too!!!!
Fantastic game v Sydney tonight, another classic.

Got to sleep in this morning now that Sport Boy's soccer season is finished.

Took Jordan clothes shopping, he's been bugging me for weeks that he needs new clothes, as a result of recent growth! He's actually getting taller. Managed to get him to go into Rivers and even more surprising, convinced him to get two items from there!

I mowed the grass after the footy then went round and mowed Sophie and the girl's front yard. Had vague notions of doing the backyard too, until I went and had a look at it!!! No man or mower has entered that dense jungle in many years!!!!

After the footy tonight I chatted with The Heir on MSN. He's back from Greece. Hasn't blogged much yet but has posted a few photos with brief stories. Go to The Posse House and click on his photos blog to check it out.

Mum and Walter fly out to Germany and the USA tomorrow for about three months, lucky people, hope they have a fantastic time. (I'm sure they will)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Everyday Hero

On Wed and Thur this week I arranged for my mate Jase Schroeder, former chaplain at Duncraig, to come to Busso to give his presentation entitled "Everyday Hero", based on the amzing feats of a father and son, Team Hoyt, who competed in the Hawaian Ironman Triathlon despite the son, Ricky being severely disabled. Jase did a lot of games and trust building stuff first and told parts of his own story before introducing and reflecting on the Everyday Hero story. He did a brilliant job and I've had fantastic feedback from a number of staff about how good it was. A student thanked me today for bringing him to the school and related how she had done something different today as a result of the way the program challenged and inspired her. That was pretty cool feedback to receive, to know that something I've done has begun to make a difference in people's lives. The Team Hoyt story is truly inspirational and very emotional, lots of people had tears in their eyes while it was on, not least of them being me.
It also helped to motivate me in my pursuit of the Commonwealth Games Fish Sculpture, at one point in the show the Dad, Dick, says "If you believe in yourself you can do anything" and I took that on board as I worked through the process of gaining support, gathering funds and then bidding in the big auction.
One of Jase's claims to fame is that he once lived on a roller coaster for 30 days on the Gold Coast as part of a radio station competition!
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Friday, September 08, 2006

look who came through Busselton on Tuesday afternoon, Rachel and Mike

They have a few claims to fame:
Rachel was chaplain at Perth Mod for several years.
She met Mike in Sydney and they got married a couple of years ago.
Mike barracks for the Sydney Swans.
Rachel manages a Gloria Jeans cafe in Sydney.
He does something for the Uniting Church, I'm not sure what!

But the most important thing to know about them is that Rachel is responsible for introducing me to blogging! She and Mike have a blog called barrandgirl and when I visited it and went to leave a comment, not knowing exactly what to do, I inadvertently started my own blog! What a great day that was! Sadly, Barrandgirl is a little neglected but it's legacy lives on in the shape of HoltPress!

Carolyn and I met them for coffee at the Samovar, the newest cafe in Busso, and enjoyed catching up for an hour, and enjoyed the chocolate mud cake!
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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Here it is, The African Bonytongue Fish Sculpture I bought on behalf of the town of Busselton this morning on ebay!

Not only do we get the fish sculpture but also the Commonwealth Games plaque and the Gambian national flag that accompanies it.

The next task is arranging transport from Melbourne!

Anyone got a big trailer we can borrow?! Posted by Picasa

We Got One!!!

Holt Press
In a last minute bidding frenzy I managed to secure the African Bonytongue Fish Sculpture for Busselton at a cost of $5114!

It was madness at the end with bids flying thick and fast. I lead in two contests until the last second of the sale and got beaten for the second by $25!

Not the result we'd hoped for but still a fantastic coup for Busselton!

Pics to follow later.

Some of the Fish I'm trying to catch

6 hours left in the auction.

Total current price of all 7 fish- $8992

Budget to bid with $8400

I've prioritised these three. If we get three I'll be stoked, more and I'll be over the moon.

Got to try and get the bidding strategy and timing right so as not to push the price up early but not to miss out either!

In the meantime I've just gotten home from a trip to Perth and need to get 4-5 hours sleep before I start bidding!! Posted by Picasa